There are several species that vary in appearance, but all
of the adults are small, round with eight legs.
All ticks feed exclusively on the blood of vertebrates.
There are two families of ticks: hard ticks and soft ticks.
They have four stages in their
life: egg, larva, nymph and adult.
Mating usually occurs while adult ticks ar on the body of the host animal.
The female then drops to the ground and deposits her eggs.
When they are at the larvae stage they
are called "seed ticks" with six legs. They attach themselves to a host, after
receiving a blood meal, they drop to the ground and emerge as eight legged
Ticks can carry serious diseases.
According to the CDC, more than 23,000 human cases of Lyme disease
were recorded in 2002, with an estimated 9 out of 10 cases going unreported.
This disease was first recognized and reported around Lyme, Ct.
in 1975. Since then, three areas in the United States are now identified
where this disease organism is known to occur naturally. These
are the Northeast(in coastal areas from northern Virginia to southern
Maine), the northern Midwest(Minnesota and Wisconsin), and the
West (parts of California, Oregon, Utah , and Nevada) Most cases
occur in the northeastern United States, but cases have been reported
in at least 49 states and federal health agencies (CDC) report
that Lyme disease accounts for 95% of the reported vector-borne
illnesses in the United States.
Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete(a type of bacteria-Borrelia
burgdorferi), that affects humans and their pet dogs, as well as
wildlife species. In the eastern and midwestern United States this
disease organism is caused principally by a hard tick, which commonly
attacks white-tailed deer and some rodent species. In the Pacific
coastal areas is caused by a similar bacteria called Ixodes pacific
These ticks have a two year cycle. Control against this tick in your yard would be the same type of control suggested for the Brown Dog Tick.
They commonly attach to the animal's body, after feeding they
drop to the ground in search of protective areas. The areas should be sprayed
with a residual insecticide.
Lyme disease and tips for prevention are
found on the CDC web site.
Once infected with Lyme disease, a person may experience flu-like
symptoms and develop a red rash in the shape of a bull's eye. Because
the symptoms of Lyme disease so closely mimic the flu, it often
goes undiagnosed and can lead to more serious health problems if
BROWN DOG TICK
Click on photo to enlarge
Photo courtesy of :
University of Florida
This is the most widely distributed ticks in the world.
It is unusual among ticks, in that it can complete its entire life
Because of this, it can establish populations in colder climates,
and has been found in many different climates.
Brown dog ticks can be found outdoors in the southern USA during any time of the year,but found active outdoors during the warm months in the northern USA.
This tick cannot over winter in the more northern
United States except within a heated structure.
It is small, red-brown in color, uniform in color.
Its mouthparts are easily seen when viewed from above.
The body is flattened and shaped like a tear drop.
Many tick species can be carried indoors on animals,
but cannot complete their entire life cycle inside.
Dogs are the preferred host in the US . The adults
attach to the ears and between the toes, and the larvae and nymphs
are often found in hair along the back, however are not restricted
to these parts.
Once an infestation occurs inside a home, it can
grow very rapidly.
Typically, a few ticks are brought into the house or from an infested
kennel, open field or other place where infested dogs have been located.
After the ticks have engorged on a blood meal, they
drop form the host and seek some protected situation in the immediate
For this reason, they may be found behind baseboards,
under window and door moldings, in window pulley openings, or in furniture.
All cracks and crevices in an infested premise must be treated for
good control. All tick life stages may be found behind baseboards, around window an door moldings, or in furniture. Newly hatched larvae can climb, so all cracks and crevices need to be treated.
A home can become infest if the family dog picks
up ticks from an infested residence, boarding kennel, open fields,
or similar place where other infested dogs have been located.
Another infested dog may visit the residence, during
which time some ticks may drop off. In this case, the home and yard
may become infested even though a dog is not generally kept there.
Dogs do not become infested with brown dog ticks
by direct contact with other dogs.
Ticks feeding on a dog drop off and molt before they
will resume host-seeking behavior and attach to another dog.
1. The infested house and/or kennel should be thoroughly
cleaned in order to eliminate as many ticks as possible. Vacuuming
is very helpful inside.
Pet bedding and pet areas should be cleaned well.
2. Kennels, dog houses, and structures occupied by
pets should be thoroughly treated to control ticks that have dropped
off the dog and that reside in harborage areas.
Residual insecticide sprays and dusts should be applied carefully
to all potential tick harborage areas.
Ticks like to reside in the upper portions of structures
in cracks and crevices and the areas used by dogs.
Recommended residual insecticides inside would be
Bifen IT or Conquer
Non residual space sprays that contain Pyrethrins such as CB 80 may be useful to supplement the residual sprays. It may used on a daily basis and is a contact killer.
Recommended dust would be:
Dust(for pet bedding) or Delta
Dust-in cracks and crevices . Infested pet bedding should
The dog must be treated with a product labeled for ticks. Products such as Frontline(contain Fipronil) or products containing Permethrin should be used. You can find these products at your pet shop or veterinarian.
For the outside: Bifen
IT , Permethrin
should be applied to grassy and bushy areas near the house
or kennel, the edges of lawns and gardens, under porches, and other
areas where the dog travels or spends time. It is usually not necessary
to treat the entire yard. One way to determine the extent and locations
of tick presence is by using a white cloth such as a pillow case.
Drag it along the grass, and brush it up onto foliage. Stop to check
the presence of the ticks. Shrubbery up to a height of 2-3 feet
should be sprayed. Non chemical methods of treatment include keeping
the grass mowed, removal of bushy areas and fencing to keep deer
American Dog Tick
Click on image to
Dogs are the preferred host of adults of this tick species, but
they will feed on larger animals.
This tick is a carrier of the causal organism of :
Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Symptoms appear 3 to 12 days after tick contact. There is a sudden
onset of symptoms that include fever, headache, and aching muscles.
A rash usually develops on the wrists and ankles on the second or
third day of fever. The rash then spreads to involve the rest of the
body, including the palms and soles. If you experience fever following
tick contact, see your physician. It is important to receive the appropriate
antibiotics as soon as possible if spotted fever is suspected. Most
fatalities can be attributed to a delay in seeking medical attention.
occurs throughout the easter and central United States.
The American dog tick goes through an egg, larva, nymph, and adult
stage during its development.
While they may be found throughout the year, adults are most active
during late April through May.
The immature stages may feed on these same hosts but prefer to infest
smaller mammals such as meadow mice, squirrels, and chipmunks.
All stages of the American dog tick will also feed on humans if given
They do not transmit Lyme disease.
Although dog ticks do not carry Lyme disease, they are the main
carrier of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in the midwest states.
Control of American dog ticks in outdoor areas is extremely difficult.
While several insecticides are labeled for outdoor tick control, they
are usually not effective in eliminating large numbers of ticks in
brushy, heavily wooded areas
There are, however, some management techniques that can discourage
a buildup of ticks in these areas.
Modifying the habitat is a more permanent approach to tick management.
Since ticks must be in areas of high humidity in order to survive,
they are most commonly found in grassy, brushy, wooded, and shaded
Therefore, reducing the humidity in these areas by keeping grass well-clipped,
removing brush, and pruning trees to allow more sunlight to penetrate
to the soil surface will discourage ticks from becoming established
in these areas.
Insecticide sprays could be sprayed with limited results.
Bifen IT, Conquer, and
SFR are recommended products.